Who has your back?
Hi everyone and a warm welcome to the new ones!
It’s been awhile since I’ve written to you all here.
I’m full of all kinds of things related to grief and to race and white supremacy as I write this on the day that the Chauvin trial is wrapping up. I’m anxious to hear the results and anxious for all my black friends and clients. I’m worried about us and especially the BIPOC part of us.
There’s more I could say about that, but I just wanted to name what’s heavy on my heart.
This blog is about what’s had my back and what I’m up to these days. I also wanted to include a grief ritual link to attend this Thursday 4/22/21.
So, it’s officially been a year since this pandemic started. And I wonder how you’re doing and what’s had your back for all this time?
Here’s a list of what’s had mine and I share it in hopes that you may be inspired to try them as well and maybe you’re already doing these practices…
- I move my body daily with morning stretches and/or a 40 minute walk.
- I prioritize being in Nature, praying/communicating to all the elements, and hugging my tree.
- I specifically call on the Dagara elements of fire, water, earth, mineral and nature. I was introduced to this practice through my dear grief mentor, Sobonfu Somé. And I now continue my dive into this African tradition through Elder Malidoma Patrice Somé. I’m currently immersed in his Cowry Shell Divination training and I’m excited to offer you this practice when I feel ready.
- My Ancestors have my back big time. I’ve been praying and connecting to them more deeply since this pandemic began. I’ve even started learning a bit of Swedish to help me connect more. (My roots are Swedish, Norwegian, and German). Of course the first word I looked up was grief, it’s spelled sorg and it’s pronounced like sorry!
- I’ve set up an Ancestor altar in my home that includes photos, fresh flowers, and a bit of strong black coffee. As I take my first sip, I include and thank them for being so present in my life right now.
- I’ve also been prioritizing rest and slowing down. I’m undoing many years of doing too much and valuing doing over being.
I’m a human being, not a human doing.
- I’ve been eating pizza and drinking red wine, one of my favorite combos…and allowing myself to enjoy it fully. It seems to be my pandemic comfort food of choice. What’s yours? I’m curious what food is getting you through these times.
- And I’m so grateful for the Marco Polo App…it’s been a lifeline for me that connects me to my girlfriends.
I’ve even started new friendships online with some of the courses I’ve been taking. It’s both strange and delightful that I have new friends that I’ve never actually seen in person yet. I’m curious how tall or small they actually are.
There is so much that is different these days…
- And I’m reading these books to sustain and inspire me:
The Healing Wisdom of Africa, by Malidoma Patrice Somé.
I just started reading Kimberly Ann Johnson’s Call of the Wild: How We Heal Trauma, Awaken Our Own Power, and Use It For Good. It’s about tuning into our bodies and learning to understand our nervous systems. And as always I read it all through a lens of grief so I can learn more to help you grieve better.
In fact, pause wherever you are right now and just tune into your body in this moment…
What do you notice?
Now start humming for a bit, any key, any tune.
And what do you notice now?
Do you feel different? Are you calmer?
Humming is a very simple practice of activating your vagus nerve which is responsible for our rest and digest systems of the body.
And I’m aware that I need a grief ritual. How do I know I need it?
I can feel a weight in my chest, or like I’m walking in mud and can’t get out of it. I feel too much sadness and I crave being held in community so we can share our sorrows with each other and then share the joy that almost always comes after we grieve together. I truly miss that.
I’m part of a grief collective that is making plans for local grief gatherings when we can safely come together. I’m super excited for this!
I want to leave you here with an invitation to a grief ritual since I’m still not offering them myself.
I’d go if I could to my friend Joanna’s grief tending circle this Thursday from 2-5pm PST.
She will warm you up with poems and songs and invite you to share in small groups where you’ll be witnessed and seen. You may be given some grief journaling prompts and then share them we each other.
It’s a simple practice and they’ve learned to hold it well within the limitations of the online realm. I highly recommend it. In order to attend, email Joanna to sign up: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m still offering my Tending the Tenders groups. I’m currently leading one now, we started last week and I still have room for you if you want to join us. I’ll send you a recording to the body centered meditation. (I don’t record our personal sharing for privacy’s sake).
Here’s the link to join: https://betherlander.com/tending-the-tendersgrief-support-for-therapists/
If you know anyone who needs grief support and grief tools send them my way. This is a group that specifically is holding the ones who are holding so many-therapists, counselors, coaches, acupuncturists, yoga instructors, massage therapists, etc.
I’ll be doing two more groups in the fall. If you’d like to be on the waiting list for that, send me an email and I’ll write you in with bright pink ink.
Okay all for now my dear ones…
May you and all beings be safe this week in order to grieve well so we can continue to be well…